Services Provided K-12

  • MUSD offers World-Class Services to gifted students in Marana, including: early identification in grades K-1; gifted education cluster-classes for grades K-6; Gifted Education in Marana (GEM) pull-out [45+ minutes for K-1 and full-day pull out for grades 2-6]; Gifted Education in Marana (GEM) course and enriched content courses in grades 7-8; opportunities for diverse and twice-exceptional learners;  K-12 social-emotional counseling; advanced electives; extra-curricular and leadership opportunities; and on-going teacher training in the needs of gifted learners.

    The gifted student is considered to be gifted all day and will be challenged appropriately in their classroom. This will be achieved through the use of differentiation methods, including: modification to content, product, process and environment.  While in GEM, honors, AP classroom, or other accelerated classes, students will be exposed to gifted strategies and instructional methods that link gifted and Arizona state standards in all content areas. 

    In the regular classroom, gifted students receive differentiated instruction and are represented at a ratio of approximately 6 (identified gifted) students per class with the GEM teacher serving as a resource to the classroom teacher. Students receive both enrichment and acceleration as appropriate.  Whenever possible, students are clustered into class groupings that allow for optimal differentiation of their gifted abilities. Gifted students in grades K-6 are placed in a classroom with a cluster of like-minded gifted peers. The classroom teacher is trained in gifted strategies, compacting, enrichment, acceleration, social and academic needs of gifted students.

    Middle school students have the opportunity for advanced placement academics and elective coursework as well as a GEM (gifted enriched) elective course. They have opportunity for leadership, clubs, athletic and arts participation.

    High students may take advanced academics and elective coursework as well as dual-enrollment with Pima Community College, AP coursework. Students can participate in leadership, clubs, athletics and fine arts. In addition, they have opportunities for travel, community service, and experiences such as Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Decathlon.

    Gifted Endorsement Requirements

    A gifted endorsement is required of individuals whose primary responsibility it is to provide services to gifted students. This requirement applies to all MUSD Gifted Education in Marana (GEM) Specialists. 

    Gifted Models and Strategies

    A teaching-learning model is a framework that guides for development of specific educational activities and the educational environment.  While the following list is not exhaustive, it creates a framework of models and strategies that MUSD GEM teachers choose from when developing units of study in their classrooms.

    • Autonomous Learner Model; George Betts
    • Creative Problem Solving Process; Osborn-Parnes
    • Enrichment Triad; Joseph Renzulli
    • Lateral and Creative Thinking; Edward de Bono
    • Multiple Intelligence Model; Howard Gardner
    • Multiple Talent Model; Calvin Taylor
    • Model of Over-Excitablities; Kazimierz Dabrowski
    • Taxonomy of Affective Domain; David Krathwohl
    • Taxonomy of Cognitive Domain; Benjamin Bloom
    • Open-ended questioning techniques; Hilda Taba
    • Differentiated Instruction model; Carol Ann Tomlinson 

    Homework Policies

    K-6 GEM students should be required to complete no more than one homework project per quarter in the GEM classroom. GEM class time will be given to complete all other GEM assignments.  This will allow the GEM student to successfully complete the daily requirements of their regular classroom.

    Students should not be required to make up classwork or homework on GEM days unless it is deemed necessary for content understanding. It is assumed that the gifted learner will maintain content understanding through a four day compacted classroom curriculum and will catch up on class content when they return to the regular classroom.

    Special Classroom Circumstances

    K-6 GEM teachers and classroom teachers should work together to negotiate special events and field trips in the classroom.  On GEM days, GEM program time should be a priority for gifted student.  The GEM and classroom teacher should consider individual interests, academic importance and personal development for the GEM student in making these determinations.

    GEM students should not be withheld from GEM services as a part of disciplinary action; GEM is a guaranteed component of the gifted student’s school week.

    Gifted and Talented Services for Elementary School

    Marana Unified School District believes students are gifted all day, every day.  Therefore, MUSD employs a combination of the Cluster grouping model and the Pull-out model, to the benefit of the gifted learner.

    Cluster Model:

    Gifted clustering is an inclusion model in which gifted and talented students with exceptional learning needs are clustered into groups in mixed ability classrooms. Students in the cluster classrooms benefit from working with like-minded peers.  Teachers of gifted cluster classrooms receive ongoing training in gifted education strategies. 

    Pull-Out Model:

    Kindergarten and Grade 1:
    GEM student in kindergarten and first grade will be placed in a classroom with a cluster of like-minded gifted peers. The gifted cluster classroom teacher is trained in gifted instructional strategies and will work closely with a certified gifted education specialist to monitor student progress. Depending on the size of the GEM program at each home school, kindergarten and first grade students may be eligible to participate in the GEM classroom one day per week anywhere from 45 minutes up to 3.0 hours.

    Grades 2-6:
    The GEM student in grades 2-6 will be placed in a classroom with a cluster of like-minded gifted peers. The gifted cluster classroom teacher is trained in gifted instructional strategies and will work closely with a certified gifted education specialist to monitor student progress. In addition, these students will be working with a certified gifted education teacher for the majority of one school day each week (second graders receive 3.0 hours and third through sixth  graders receive approximately 4.0- 4.5 hours of GEM). The GEM teacher will be available to GEM students, and the teachers who work with them, on a regular basis.

    Gifted and Talented Services for Middle School and High School

    Program offerings for gifted students incorporate both cognitive and affective gifted strategies with full inclusion of the state standards.  Differentiation modifications are made to product, process, environment and content to enhance grade-level state standards. Students receive services that both accelerate and enrich their regular classroom experience while focusing on Arizona grade level standards in major content requirement areas. 

    The gifted program standards are aligned with district and state assessments. All gifted students participate in classroom assessments that are both formative and summative and may include traditional letter grades, portfolios, projects, rubrics, contracts and other authentic assessment methods.


    • Placement assessment for advanced coursework
    • Gifted student files passed up from elementary to middle school to high school
    • CCBG Counseling Program
    • Elected positions (i.e. student council, choir or drama officers)
    • Community Services Clubs/drives
    • Class offerings including: honors, CP, Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment with Pima College and internships
    • Freshman Foundations classes
    • Link Crew Mentoring Program
    • One on one Advisement
    • Career Gateways through Learning Communities
    • Alternative credit opportunities through a myriad of accredited programs to allow for diverse credit needs
    • National Honors Society
    • Key Club
    • Student Leadership Opportunities
    • Academic Decathlon
    • Summer Enrichment Opportunities in the community
    • Policies in place for early graduation plans